My all time favorite lower body exercise
There are many exercises that are great for toning your glutes or your legs. But the RDL (Romanian Dead lift) is one of the few that specifically targets both your butt AND your hamstrings at the same time.
When done correctly and consistently, the RDL with strengthen and tone all of these muscles (6 in total!), transforming your butt and legs in no time!
I personally perform several sets of the RDL at least once per week (sometimes twice), varying between a barbell and dumb bells, foot positioning, and reps and weight.
If you’re just beginning
I suggest you start with one warm up set of 10, then perform 3 sets of 10-15. Stick to the standard foot positioning (hip width apart) for a couple of months, and choose either a barbell or dumbbells. You can begin to increase weight after a couple of weeks or as soon as you feel comfortable.
Once you’ve mastered the movement, and have seen results, then you can begin changing up foot positioning, as well as mixing up equipment.
Important Things to Practice
1. Never round your back during any part of the movement
2. To prevent your back from rounding, begin by pulling your shoulders back while pressing your chest forward. Maintain that position throughout the movement.
3. Slightly flex your knees (this is not a squat)
4. And maintain that slight knee flex while you push your butt/hips back as far as you can without falling over, to lower your body and the weight
5. Keep all your weight on the heels of your feet
6. And keep pressing your weight into your legs as you lower (don’t let it get away from you)
7. You should feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings while lowering (if not, your back is rounded and/or you aren’t pushing your hips back far enough, or your bending your knees too much)
8. Once you reach the bottom, squeeze your butt and hamstrings to bring you back to the top
It seems like a lot, but once you practice a couple of times it will be a piece of cake.
So go ahead, grab a broom or similar item and practice in front of your mirror. I have many of my clients learn that way. Works very well.
Here’s a couple video demos for visual aid.